By Ashok Kumar:
In the 2007-8 series, Anil Kumble went to Perth 0-2 down after some bad umpiring decisions at SCG and Harbhajan’s “Monkeygate” scandal. And, Kumble made use of the fast track of WACA through Ishant, Pathan and R.P. Singh to win the Test match.
Dhoni is under similar pressure but the difference this time being an abject surrender by his batsmen at the SCG while the Kumble’s men were fired up after some bad decisions and brought some simile on the faces of Indians.
Dhoni’s problem is compounded with some out of form experienced and famous batsmen whom he is finding it hard part with.
The manner in which all the three were bowled out in the two Test matches clearly shows that their time is up. It’s hard to find a batsman today of the calibre of Dravid, Laxman or Tendulkar allowing the ball to go through their defences. And, Dravid has done it four times in a row.
Of the three, only Tendulkar still seems to be commanding the morale boosting presence. Team India desperately needs to induct Rohit Sharma into the playing XI. And, we have three failures in the form of Dravid, Laxman and Kohli. Of these three, Laxman gave a semblance of his true form and took his score past 50. Dravid seems to be getting into shape but soon he opens the gates. Kohli, on the other hand, is new and needs some more exposure against the bounce. He had showed some ability against the fast bowling of the West Indies albeit at home.
The track at the WACA is green and promises a lot of bounce throughout. Of the three seamers used the last time, only Ishant Sharma is in the present lot. Zaheer Khan, who left the team after the Adelaide Test in 2007-8, would love to exploit the conditions and of course, the fastest of them all Umesh Yadav’s abilities and temperament will be tested here. It will not be out of place here to say that Kohli, if retained, can be utilised in these conditions as he has some pace.
It is likely that the Australians will be deploying a four-pronged pace attack with the inclusion of Ryan Harris in place of injured James Pattinson and New South Wales’ Pat Cummins, if he is fit or Mitchel Stac.
Well the conditions are still stacked in India’s favour and they should go into the match forgetting the 0-2 defecit.